Mo Hill hires $89,000 per year social media manager as residents grapple with sharp tax increases

4 mins read
Maurice "Mo" Hill.

TOMS RIVER, NJ – As many Toms River residents are reeling from sticker shock from their new increased tax assessment, Mayor Mo Hill secretly hired his former political campaign strategist, Art Gallagher to manage the township’s Facebook and social media presence for $89,000 per year plus medical benefits.

Last year, Hill and the township signed a $60,000 contract with Direct Development, a public relations firm owned by Monmouth County Democrat Senator Vin Gopal for the same job. On top of that, the township already employs former WOBM reporter Stacey [Proebstle] Georgaklios at a salary of $57,405. Combined, the township is spending $206,405 annually, plus the health and pension benefits for the two full-time employees.

The news was reported today by the Asbury Park Press.

Gallagher was Mo Hill’s political election campaign strategist who in 2019 passed around a fraudulent check, allegedly written by Mo Hill’s Democrat opponent Jonathan Petro. Gallagher claimed the $4,000 check was written by Petro and made out to Shore News Network, in an attempt to smear Shore News as being ‘in the bank’ for Democrats. After passing the check around, it turned out the check was a forgery and Shore News Network did not accept any advertisements or payments of any kind from any political candidates in the 2019 election or since. The incident was reported to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office but was never followed up on by the agency.

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Gallagher to this day refuses to say who gave him the fraudulent check.

In 2011, Gallagher ran for a seat on the Highland’s Borough Council but ended up suspending his campaign while incarcerated on accusations of forgery and fraud. He was arrested by the Highlands Police Department for charges filed against him in Delaware, according to Patch news.

Gallagher, according to today’s report in the Asbury Park Press, is also actively working as campaign consultant for Monmouth County Freeholder Sue Kiley, a Republican Candidate for Congress, challenging Democrat Frank Pallone. Last week, Gallagher was billed as a ‘political strategist’ on former Bridgegate mastermind David Wildstein’s am political radio talk show.

Since taking the job in early January, Gallagher has published press releases promoting the good deeds of Mayor Mo Hill, greying a fine line between a public information service and political campaigning paid for Hill through the use of township tax dollars.

With Gallagher heading Hill’s public social media pages on behalf of the township taxpayers, the mayor no longer has to pay Gallagher through his political campaign accounts. Last year, Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman paid Gallagher $4,000, according to New Jersey ELEC filings, but has refused to disclose what that payment was for.

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Gallagher operated the political-hit/blog site More Monmouth Musings until selling the property to an unidentified buyer for an unidentified sum in March of 2021. That property has sat dormant since its sale.

In another controversial hiring, Hill hired Jackson Township Republican Party Chairman Todd Porter as a code enforcement officer for an unknown annual salary. Porter was censured by National GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, according to an article published by Newsweek Magazine.

Porter, who lives in Jackson Township, had offered his services, for a fee, to drive through Jackson Township parks blasting Satanic and Nazi-themed music by the heavy metal band Slayer to scare Orthodox Jewish families out of that town’s parks.

Porter did not respond for comment when questioned about his new position as a code enforcement officer in Toms River, which also has a large and growing Orthodox Jewish community.